The "green shoots" theory of economic recovery is starting to look a bit like the herbs in my back yard--the ones I forgot to tell Peter to water while I was in Omaha. Retail sales fell again, despite confident proclamations that consumers had rethought their overreaction last fall. And foreclosures hit another record, which was oddly described as a "levelling off" by a lot of papers. The March numbers showed a big spike, because legislative and corporate moratoriums expired. In that context, a 1% increase in April isn't a "levelling off"--it's extraordinarily worrying.

I don't want to push the Great Depression analogy too far, but what's surprising when you go back to primary sources from 1930 is the optimism. I don't mean to imply that everyone thinks things are just swell. But while you know that they are facing the worst economic decade of the twentieth century, they don't.

via Green? Shoot. - Megan McArdle.